Midtown Tulsa Residents Oppose Expansion Of Neighborhood Church

Wednesday, September 16th 2015, 11:22 pm
By: News On 6

Midtown neighbors are saying no to a church’s plan to add-on to their existing building. They say they have concerns with a bigger church in the neighborhood.

Church at Midtown is located near 39th and Lewis and is one of three locations which feed into the largest campus, Church at Battle Creek in Broken Arrow.

It moved into the location about three years ago and has grown rapidly, which is why it wants to add-on.

Neighbors have been told the three-story high building will fit almost 650 people inside. They call it a "mega church" and say it's not something they want right outside their front door.

The Church at Midtown is tucked away a few hundred feet from Lewis near 39th Street. With a large front lawn, it blends in with the neighborhood, but soon, a building may take over the open space.

"I feel like a neighborhood church is fine, but if they want to expand and be a large church they need to explore options, maybe in the Pearl District, or downtown, where there is big warehouse space," said neighbor Anna Kallstrom.

The new addition could fit 635 people inside and tower over Bob Reis' property, even though he lives across the street.

"All of us that are close on this side, we won't see the sun, and our landscape won't see the sun until noon or later each day," Reis said.

He's been told the larger campus will have theater seating and stand three stories high.

Church at Midtown is a satellite location for the much larger campus, Church at Battle Creek in Broken Arrow. He fears the plan is to make the midtown location their next “mega-church.”

“They have elected, ‘let’s go into an old, well-established neighborhood in Tulsa and just put a church there and see what happens,’" Reis said.

Kallstrom said, “It already has a significant amount of traffic, which I'm fine with, I'm glad people go to church, but I don't think it needs to be any bigger."

The church will have 239 parking spaces on-site, which means people will have to be shuttled in from a nearby school or park across the street in the neighborhood.

Kallstrom worries about her children and neighbor's safety.

“We have a lot of walkers, joggers, people out on the streets. So, it just seems much more dangerous for the people in this neighborhood,” she said.

We reached out to the attorney for the Church at Battle Creek but were told they have no comment.

Neighbors and the developers will meet with the city’s Board of Adjustment on Tuesday; the group will decide whether or not the church will be able to move forward with their plans.